Agenda and draft minutes

Venue: The Breckland Conference Centre, Anglia Room, Elizabeth House, Walpole Loke, Dereham, NR19 1EE

Contact: Democratic Services  Tel: 01362 656870

Items
No. Item

68/22

Apologies

To receive apologies for absence. 

Minutes:

Apologies for absence were received from Councillors Atterwill, Bowes, Brindle, Clarke, Dale, Dowling, Eagle, Grey, Kiddle-Morris, Monument, Oliver, Sherwood, Taylor and Wickerson.

69/22

Minutes pdf icon PDF 242 KB

To confirm the minutes of the Annual meeting held on 19 May 2022.

Minutes:

The minutes of the meeting held on 19th May were agreed as a correct record and signed by the Chairman.

70/22

Declaration of Interests

The duties to register, disclose and not to participate for the entire consideration of the matter, in respect of any matter in which a Member has a disclosable pecuniary interest are set out in Chapter 7 of the Localism Act 2011.  Members are also required to withdraw from the meeting room as stated in the Standing Orders of this Council.

 

Minutes:

None declared.

71/22

Chairman's Announcements pdf icon PDF 55 KB

Minutes:

The Chairman informed Members that during his year in office he had chosen to support the charities of Papyrus and Mind.  He welcomed Mr Tim Owen, from 3-Dads-Walking who alongside two other gentleman, Mike Palmer and Andy Airey fundraise for Papyrus, a UK charity dedicated to the prevention of suicide and the promotion of positive mental health and emotional wellbeing in young people.

 

Mr Owen spoke about the tragedy of losing his daughter, and why he raised money for the Papyrus charity.

 

The Chairman informed Members that immediately following the meeting there would be a presentation from Norfolk Museums Service regarding an environmental project that had been set up at Gressenhall Farm and Workhouse Museum.

 

He went on to thank Thetford Town Council for the presentation of a new football shirt which had been adopted by Thetford football team.

 

72/22

Leader's Announcements

To receive a verbal update from Councillor Sam Chapman-Allen, Leader of the Council.

 

Minutes:

The Leader referred to the inspirational and personal story given by Mr Owen and how Breckland Council Inspiring Community programme linked with supporting organisations across Norfolk in relation to suicide prevention and awareness.

 

The Leader was pleased that the Council acted as an ambassador by working in partnership with organisations such as Breckland Youth Advisory Board to bring these issues to the forefront.  He also thanked Thetford Town Football Club for the presentation of the Women’s football shirt that had been sponsored by the Daisy Programme, which again highlighted the importance of partnership working.

 

He thanked Members who were involved and engaged in the recent Local Government Association Peer Review.  The team visited a number of locations and were impressed with enthusiastic engagement.  It had been an exciting period of change and a positive process, and a report would be presented to full Council in due course.

 

The Leader said that in February 2020, Breckland Council ranked 344 out of 400 for the accessibility on the digital platform with the residents.  He was proud that as of July 2022, the Council now ranked within the top 9 of Councils across the whole of the Country for how the digital platform allowed residents to interact with the Council.

 

 

73/22

Questions on Notice under Standing Order No 6 pdf icon PDF 571 KB

Please find attached the Questions on Notice together with the responses.

 

Minutes:

Questions on Notice received, together with responses had been published prior to the meeting.

74/22

Questions without Notice under Standing Order No 7

Minutes:

Councillor Jermy, Leader of the Labour Group directed his question to the Leader.  He confirmed that the Department of Transport had recently released information relating to isolated neighbourhoods and access to key services.  He highlighted that isolation remained a major issue and asked if Breckland Council was doing enough to tackle the issue.

 

The Leader had been aware of the challenges with transport across the District and that the Peer Team had also highlighted the geography and scale of the District. There had recently been funding received from the Department of Transport for community support within Swaffham and would continue to work in partnership with Norfolk County Council on what could be achieved.

 

Councillor Gilbert complimented the Council on supporting the green canopy initiative during the Queens Platinum Jubilee year and was pleased to see the wooded area planted within Watton.  However, he said that some of the trees planted had already died due to planting at the wrong time of the year and asked the Leader what maintenance had been put in place to support the trees.

 

The Leader had visited the site along with the contractors and a steer had  been taken from the Woodland Trust.  He was confident that the current maintenance programme was fit for purpose and was committed to support the sustainability initiative. Councillor Gilbert was informed that Watton Town Council had been made aware of these issues.

 

Councillor Gilbert said he had not received the information from Watton Town Council and asked if the dead trees would be replaced.  The Leader said they would be replaced if that was be the advice from the Woodland Trust.

 

Councillor Birt said he had asked a question at the previous meeting regarding a Council asset without naming it, but the question was blocked.  He informed the Council that the Information Commissioner Office (ICO) said the Council had breached regulations on Freedom of Information and the decision should be published in the public domain.

 

The Legal Services Manager, Sarah Wolstenholme-Smy advised that was a set period of time to respond to the ICO decision and Counsel’s advice was currently being sought it was not appropriate to discuss this at this meeting.

 

Councillor Birt asked a second question relating to the exclusion of press and public at committee meetings, where he had objected every time, and the Information Commissioner had found the Council had applied general exceptions of withholding information.  He asked if the Council would publish the information for all committees that had been withheld.

 

The Legal Services Manager again advised that the report from the ICO related to one matter and was not appropriate to reconsider each decision made under the exclusion of press and public provisions and Counsel opinion was currently being sought on the matter as previously explained.

 

The Leader of the Council added that he was not able to comment on the ICO report.

 

Councillor Wilkinson asked the Executive Member for Strategic and Operational Planning if there had been a good response on the  ...  view the full minutes text for item 74/22

75/22

Minutes (for information only)

To note the following Committee Minute documents for the month of

Minutes:

Councillor Birt raised a point of order under Standing Order No.5, Order of Business, specifically 5.1.k stated that ‘on reports of the Cabinet or Committees, a Member of the Council may ask the Leader or any Cabinet Member any question without notice’.  

 

The Legal Services Manager responded that the correct forum to raise questions was to the committee where the minute had come from.

75/22a

Cabinet: 6 June 2022 pdf icon PDF 160 KB

To note the unconfirmed Minutes of the Cabinet meeting held on 6 June 2022.

 

Members are asked to note that the recommendations under Minute No. 56/22 will be discussed under agenda item10.

Minutes:

The unconfirmed minutes of the Cabinet meeting held on 6 June 2022 were noted.

75/22b

Overview & Scrutiny Commission: 26 May 2022 pdf icon PDF 225 KB

To note the unconfirmed Minutes of the Overview & Scrutiny Commission meeting held on 26 May 2022.

Minutes:

The unconfirmed minutes of the Overview and Scrutiny Commission meeting held on 26 May 2022 were noted.

75/22c

Planning Committee: 10 May 2022 and 7 June 2022 pdf icon PDF 158 KB

1.     To note the confirmed Minutes of the Planning Committee Meeting held on 10 May 2022.

 

2.     To note the unconfirmed Minutes of the Planning Committee meeting held on 7 June 2022.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The confirmed minutes of the Planning Committee held on 10 May 2022 were noted.

 

The unconfirmed minutes of the Planning Committee held on 7 June 2022 were noted.

76/22

Annual Report on the Treasury Management Service and Actual Prudential Indicators 2021-22 pdf icon PDF 218 KB

Report by Councillor Phil Cowen, Executive Member for Finance, Revenue & Benefits.

 

Members are asked to note that this report was considered at the Governance & Audit Committee meeting on 23 June 2022 where the recommendations were agreed to Full Council.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Councillor Philip Cowen, Executive Member for Finance, Revenue and Benefits to present the report that had been recently considered at the Governance and Audit Committee on 23 June where the recommendations to full council were agreed.

 

Councillor Birt reinforced that he would like to see a cross check which had been offered at the Governance and Audit meeting, rather than relying on a link asset report.

 

Councillor Cowen agreed that it had been discussed and would be added for future reports.

 

RESOLVED that:

1)    The Actual 2021/22 prudential indicators within the report be approved;

2)    The Treasury Management annual report for 2021/22 at Appendix B and C of the report be noted.

 

77/22

Quarter 4 Financial Performance Report 2021-22 pdf icon PDF 129 KB

Report by Councillor Phil Cowen, Executive Member for Finance, Revenue & Benefits.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Councillor Philip Cowen, Executive Member for Finance, Revenue and Benefits presented the report that had also been considered at Cabinet on 6 June 2022 where the recommendations to Full Council were agreed.

 

The report provided information on the actual full year financial position of the Council as at 31 March 2022.  He was proud that the Council had achieved a balance budget and was a testament to what team Breckland had achieved. 

 

Councillor Jermy asked for the reason the Council needed to spend a lot of money on marketing and communications and the reason for the variance. Members heard that the variance was due to the additional version of the Transforming Breckland magazine which had been an important communication tool to the residents of Breckland. 

 

Councillor Birt said he had previously raised his concern on the shortfall that had been created by inflation and had asked  for a risk assessment and felt that in future, if issues had been raised on a report at committee meetings that supplementary information be added when the final report was presented to help inform decisions. 

 

He also added that the report stipulated ‘that achieving efficiencies had been strong’ and yet half of the target had been achieved and 25% of the prospect of savings had been abandoned.  A key part of a balance budget was to save millions within the Evolve programme, and he asked if  millions that had to be saved was realistic.

 

Councillor Cowen reminded Members that the Quarter 4 performance report had been based on the past 12 months and that inflation had been accounted for at the time when the budget had been set and was therefore a statement of fact at the end of Quarter 4.    Looking ahead, the Council would have to consider all factors when putting forward proposals.  

 

In response to the comment of achieving 54% efficiency, during the last 12 months the efficiency programme had to change and was therefore in line with best practice. Hence, the Worksmart programme had been introduced and had delivered what it had set out to achieve; a building fit for purpose for years to come and a work force who found the place of work to be significantly better than it had been in the past.  As a result, the efficiency programme was on track and continued to plan to make savings over the coming 12 months. 

 

Councillor Hewett congratulated the team on the performance data and how the performance of the Council had been managed over what had been remarkable economic circumstances to a tight conclusion as at the end of March 2022.

 

He added that he was delighted that Councillor Birt had picked up on the fact that the cash return was so low and therefore presumably implied the need to do more with the commercial property portfolio to make sure that producing the revenues that the tax- payers wanted during these difficult economic circumstances. 

 

It was RESOLVED that:

 

1)     the capital budgets (& associated funding sources) of  ...  view the full minutes text for item 77/22

78/22

Nominations for Committee and other Seats

To receive nominations for any changes to Committee and other seats from political groups.

Minutes:

The following nominations were received:

 

Committees

Ø  Councillor Paul Plummer to replace Councillor Hilary Bushell on the Planning Committee, as substitute member.

Ø  Councillor Paul Plummer to replace Councillor Hilary Bushell on the Overview and Scrutiny Commission.

 

Outside Bodies:

Ø  Norfolk strategic Flood Alliance

Cllr Gordon Bambridge was appointed as the Breckland Council representative and Councillor Sam Chapman-Allen as substitute.

 

Ø  Norfolk Rivers Internal Drainage Board

There had been a decrease of membership due to a reconstitution, and therefore Cllr Gordon Bambridge was appointed as the Breckland Council representative and Councillor Borrett as substitute.

 

79/22

Amendments to the Constitution (if any)

Minutes:

None.

80/22

Any other items which the Chairman decides are urgent

NOTE: No other business is permitted unless by reason of special circumstances, which shall be specified in the minutes, the Chairman is of the opinion that the items(s) should be considered as a matter of urgency.

Minutes:

None.